Can one photo change a life?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by BradS, Oct 12, 2005.

  1. BradS

    BradS Member

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    What the title says.

    Can one photo have so significant an effect that it might justifiably be called "life changing"?

    Examples?
     
  2. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    Sure, AA had his Half Dome. When I shot news there were certainly pix that hit the mark. As I switched over to photography for pleasure, there were pix that all of a sudden put everything I had learned into one image. These photos are still good and bring back the moment.
     
  3. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    TOTALLY!

    There was a photograph I took so long ago that it's lost in the mists of time. It contained some spark of myself that encouraged further exploration, or contained nothing of the power of the scene I was trying to photograph. Either way, that one image set me on the path I still walk.

    Great question by the way :smile:

    Murray
     
  4. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Then again...can it change the life of the person photographed?

    Wasn't there a National Geographic photograph back in the 70's or 80's of a young boy taken in South America, who was distraught over the death of a farm animal after it was hit by a vehicle? Didn't that one photograph initiate enough donations from around the world to build a new school in the boys town?

    That one photograph may have changed more than one life.

    Murray
     
  5. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    One photograph, can have amazing influence on changing a life or lives, every since the invention of photography, pictures have captured the mood of the world...look at the picture of the workers at ground zero right after the attacks, the firemen raising the flag, take for example the raising of the flag over Iwo Jima, the blowing up of the Nazi symbol over the chancley at the end of WWII, the images of the fires of 1988 in Yellowstone, and better yet, the photographs of the Haynes party in the 1880's of the Yellowstone region changed the world, with a whole new concept of preservation and help to create the National Park system in the United States, which has now spread to over 100 countries around the world. I have no doubt and image can change a life..now does it change it for the better or the worse....I think that is a more difficult question to answer.

    Dave
     
  6. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Easy. But it seldom has any more to do with the maker of the picture than the fact that the picture was made.

    Once, I was photographing in a hospital and made a couple pictures of a young man on a ventilator and all the other paraphenalia that keeps one alive when the body wants to quit. Auto accident. Going nowhere. Barely alive, and in decline.

    Showed the pictures to the chaplain, who grabbed them and ran out to the waiting room, where the family had been sitting for days but not spending any time with the son. Much crying. Much fear. One by one they began to visit the boy, and he recovered, slowly at first, then, progressively faster. He walked out of the hospital and has a pretty normal life today, kids of his own, healthy.

    The magic, of course, was the family's involvement. The picture was a catalyst. The agent was the chaplain.

    Of course, had the picture NOT been made on 8x10 film, with a Deardorff and a zeiss lens, the outcome would have been different.

    If pyrocat had been around 20 years ago, the kid would have become a doctor himself. But, yes, pictures can easily have a life changing result.

    .
     
  7. BradS

    BradS Member

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    I must have past my 10,000th negative or something because, after making photos for...geez, since I was just about twelve years old, I seem to have produced a photo that, well, people actually seem to like. I have it in our living room and it seems like every third or fourth female that sees it asks if I would photograph them...
     
  8. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    When I bought this album in 1984, I loved the photo on the cover and inside so much that I took up photography. I was only a kid and its been life changing.

    http://www.u2.com/music/albumcovers/md_6.jpg

    Photographer; Anton Corbijn
     
  9. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    Yes, I think so, too. But, I think the nature of the image is different based on which person's life is being changed - the photographer, the subject, or the viewer.

    Consider, for example, the myriad famous news photographs that changed the lives of many people. In contrast, the National Geographic shot of the Afghan girl received decades of attention, but didn't change her life at all.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sure. Isn't that why people hire private detectives with long lenses to trail their cheating spouses?
     
  11. L Gebhardt

    L Gebhardt Subscriber

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    Can you post a scan?
     
  12. BradS

    BradS Member

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    Yes. It has been in my gallery for a while. You can see it here. I have a 16x20 print resting on the mantle at home. I was hoping to, just maybe, find some public place that would allow me to display it - like a library or something?

    Anyway, I'm not even sure what attracts others to it. I know why I like it but I really don't know what it is about it that makes about 80% of my wife's friends who've seen it want me to photograph them. Maybe they've just never seen a LF portrait before and are blown away by the difference between it and the crap you get from retail portrait shops..???

    It makes me wonder if I could actually start to use all of what I've learned (and bought) over the years to support my habit.
     
  13. eric

    eric Member

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    How about changing the life of the photographer? I remember reading about Eddie Adams and the famous shot of the Vietnamese guy being shot by the American. He said that his life was changed afterwards not because of what the guy did, but because he took the photo. He also said, that contrary to what it seems, it is actually the millisecond after the shot and not before the shot. Sorry to be graphic but the bullet was actually coming out of the guy's head and not the second before the shot.
    I saw him once at Lens and Repro and I remembered that people hate it when they come to him and ask for his autogrph so I left him alone.
     
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  15. laz

    laz Member

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    No! The South Vietnamese was being executed by the Viet Cong! NOT AN AMERICAN!
     
  16. eric

    eric Member

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    Whoops, was that it? I haven't seen it in a while. But an interesting story regarding the photo though.
    That changed the life of everyone involved.
     
  17. wfe

    wfe Member

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    Photography has changed my life considerably. If I had to pick out one thing that has had the most impact it would be the people that I have met through photography. In addition I shot some portraits recently that resonate very strongly with me personally. These are photographs that I have dreamed of making. No scans have been posted yet but will be soon.
     
  18. laz

    laz Member

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    We both got it wrong: "Eddie Adams photographed 13 wars, including Vietnam. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1968 photograph of Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon. The prisoner had just murdered eight South Vietnamese. The photograph turned some Americans against the war and haunted Loan for the rest of his life. Eddie Adams died in September, 2004"

    That photo, and the one of the young girl running down a road after a Napalm attack, will haunt me forever.

    Photos do not "lie", but how they are interpreted and presented to the people can bring about false assumptions.

    -Bob
     
  19. Gay Larson

    Gay Larson Member

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    I am absolutely positive it can and does. I have been involved for four years now in a project to photograph kids who are hard to adopt kids in the custody of DHS. My photography group has produced two exhibits of 50 black and white fiber based portraits of kids some by them selves and some sibling groups. They have been stunning, powerful exhibits that traveled our state for a year each. The last up date I had was that about 70 kids have been adopted. These are mostly adolescents that have been in the system for years. Now they have families, permanent homes. I am more proud of the work I did on these exhibits than anything else I have ever done.
     
  20. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I agree, some of us probably became photographers because of someone's photograph.

    Some photographers careers are made because of one photograph.

    Some people in the entertainment industry have a career because of one photograph.

    Some people have gone to jail because of one photograph.

    Some people died because of one photograph. (spying for instance)

    And as David so wisely pointed out some men gave up half their net worth because of one photograph.


    Michael
     
  21. BradS

    BradS Member

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    Wow, What a fantastic project to be involved with. I'd love to see the photographs.
     
  22. BradS

    BradS Member

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    I beleive that one was made by Mr. David Burnett...
    http://www.davidburnett.com/portfolio.html
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  24. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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  25. laz

    laz Member

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    Life changing? I know the question being asked is speaking to profound changes, something that alters the course of one's life, but many things small and large change our lives every day. I think the more important thing great photographs can do is change our perceptions of the world; to have a window to someone elses life opened to us; allow us to see the world differently, more fully. I'm thinking not just of pictures of great drama or even of people or events. A landscape of a place near or far can make our world expand; like all art a good photograph allows us to see beauty more fully.

    A photograph allows the mind to soar beyond one's self.


    It'd been a very somber afternoon for me because of the memories evoked by seeing those 2 Vietnam photographs again. I was 14 when the execution photo appeared on the front pages, it made me physically ill. It was a time for me of great anxiety over the draft. Fear of being drafted dominated many of my generations' young men; It may be hard for those who did not live through it to understand how 14 year old boys could be worrying about a draft that would not come for them for another 4 years, but we did. Vietnam was the issue of the day along side civil rights. I feared nothing more than being drafted and sent to southeast asia with a gun to kill and be killed. And being sent to kill and die is what many did. There are names on The Wall I know, but all fifty thousand plus who died are better known because of photography. Since the day Matthew Brady set up his camera on that civil war battlefield, we've been able to see the faces of war. One hopes that someday the memory of those images, the faces of young men struck down before their lives really began, will help put an end to war, for all time.

    -Bob
     
  26. Gay Larson

    Gay Larson Member

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    There will be a National exhibit on November 1st with portraits from 31 states, including three of ours in Washington DC at Union Station. I'll be there and just to brag on our photography group....we are being honored with an Adoption Excellence Award from the Federal Dept of Human Services. However, the award is nothing compared to the rewards of knowing children have permanent homes.